There was a child went
forth every day
And the first object he looked upon, that object he became,
And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain part of the
Or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.
Kathleen’s nature needed to be stirred, Nancy’s to be controlled, the impulse coming from within, the only way that counts in the end, though the guiding force may be applied from without.
Nancy was more impulsive than industrious, more generous than wise, more plucky than prudent; she had none too much perseverance and no patience at all.
Gilbert was a fiery youth of twelve, all for adventure. He kindled quickly, but did not burn long, so deeds of daring would be in his line; instantaneous ones, quickly settled, leaving the victor with a swelling chest and a feather in cap; rather an obvious feather suited Gilbert best.
Peter? Oh! Peter, aged four, can be dismissed in very few words as a consummate charmer and heart-breaker. The usual elements that go to the making of a small boy were all there, but mixed with white magic. It is painful to think of the dozens of girl babies in long clothes who must have been feeling premonitory pangs when Peter was four, to think they couldn’t all marry him when they grew up!
THE COMMON DENOMINATOR
Three weeks had gone by since Mother Carey’s departure for Fortress Monroe, and the children had mounted from one moral triumph to another. John Bunyan, looking in at the windows, might have exclaimed:—
Who would true valor see
Let him come hither.
It is easy to go wrong in a wicked world, but there are certain circumstances under which one is pledged to virtue; when, like a knight of the olden time, you wear your motto next your heart and fight for it,—“Death rather than defeat!” “We are able because we think we are able!” “Follow honor!” and the like. These sentiments look beautifully as class mottoes on summer graduation programmes, but some of them, apparently, disappear from circulation before cold weather sets in.
It is difficult to do right, we repeat, but not when mother is away from us for the first time since we were born; not when she who is the very sun of home is shining elsewhere, and we are groping in the dim light without her, only remembering her last words and our last promises. Not difficult when we think of the eyes the color of the blue velvet bonnet, and the tears falling from them. They are hundreds of miles away, but we see them looking at us a dozen times a day and the last thing at night.
Not difficult when we think of father; gay, gallant father, desperately ill and mother nursing him; father, with the kind smile and the jolly little sparkles of fun in his eyes; father, tall and broad-shouldered, splendid as the gods, in full uniform; father, so brave that if a naval battle ever did come his way, he would demolish the foe in an instant; father, with a warm strong hand clasping ours on high days and holidays, taking us on great expeditions where we see life at its best and taste incredible joys.